The Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Victory, on Monday, returned a vessel, MT AYSU, arrested on January 31 to Pebeto Enerji Limited.
While handing over the vessel in Calabar, Cross River, the Commander, NNS Victory, Rear Admiral Vincent Okeke, said his patrol team arrested the vessel around Calabar Safe Anchorage Area for illegally loading 1,500 metric tons of Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO).
Okeke said the post-arrest investigation revealed that the approval granted by NNS Delta to the vessel to load oil sludge waste at Warri Refinery and Petrochemical Company was unaccounted for.
He said the discharge port could not be ascertained as the preliminary investigation revealed that the vessel did not sail to Port Harcourt, Rivers State, as claimed.
READ ALSO: US Navy bans TikTok over security worries
Okeke said that in compliance with the directive of the Naval Headquarters (NHQ) in April, the vessel, its contents, and five crew members were handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigation.
He said: “After a series of investigation, the EFCC indicated that there were insufficient evidences to charge MT AYSU to court for the alleged offence.
“Consequently, EFCC advised the NHQ to release the vessel so that it could continue with its operations and, accordingly, NHQ directed the release of MT AYSU to the owner upon proof of ownership, in accordance with extant regulations.
“After a thorough perusal of the available documents presented by Pebeto Enerji Limited, it was evident that the vessel belongs to the said company, which manages the vessel on behalf of AYSU Shipping Limited.
“Consequently, MT AYSU, with IMO Number 9014511, is hereby handed over to Messrs Pebeto Enerji Limited.
“However, NNS Victory remains resolute to enforce the mandate of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ibas, to rid Nigeria’s maritime domain of all forms of criminality.” (NAN)